SPCA Leaders Say Animal Abuse Cases Are On The Rise Post-Pandemic

SPCA Leaders Say Animal Abuse Cases Are On The Rise Post-Pandemic

Back in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused global lockdowns. As people found themselves spending more time at home, their bonds with pets strengthened and more people started adopting pets. In fact, some shelters were completely emptied of pets due to an increase in adoptions!

As COVID restrictions lightened, though, people started returning to work. Social events picked up. And people found themselves dedicating less time to their so-called pandemic puppies. Shelters started to fill back up as people returned the pets they'd rescued during the lockdown.

As it turns out, it's not just animal abandonment that's increased following the pandemic. Experts are claiming that cases of severe animal abuse are on the rise following the pandemic.

According to Spectrum News 1, Cait Daly, president and CEO of the SPCA of Erie County in New York, said that from Oct 2020 to Sept 2021, animal cruelty arrests nearly doubled from the previous year. From Oct 2022 to July 2023, several abuse cases have been felonies, as people beat their pets and leave them in inhumane conditions without access to water, food or protection from the elements. Daly said, "It's incredibly devastating. It's been very hard to do this work every day. But I love it. So I do it, and we all love it, and we care a lot."

CEO Ashley Jeffrey Bouck said cases are up 156% year over year at the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society in New York. According to Spectrum News 1, both shelters are reportedly taking in less surrendered pets to make space for pets seized from abuse cases.

Bouck said, "It really disheartens us to have to say no to our community, that we can't help because there's literally no space here."

Per Spectrum News 1, Daly believes the cause behind the increasing cases of animal abuse are multi-faceted. She said it's likely a combination of an increase in cost of living, untreated mental health issues, substance abuse, evictions, and fewer spay and neuter surgeries during the pandemic.

According to the World Animal Foundation, animal abuse isn't just up in New York, but in areas around the world! They report that dog abuse in the United Kingdom is up 16% since the 2020 pandemic. And for the past 10 years, they report that animal cruelty complaints have risen 55%.

If you suspect animal abuse, you can call the non-emergency line or 911. You can also call your local pound or animal shelter to ask for advice and next steps.

Malorie Thompson

Malorie works as a writer and editor in Northern California. She's passionate about food, conscious living, animal welfare, and conservation. She's worked with a variety of publications in different sectors but is happiest covering topics close to her heart. When not at her laptop, Malorie can be found enjoying picnics on the beach, hiking in the redwoods, and spending time with her rescue pup, Jax.

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